Benefits of Digitizing Your Microfilm and Microfiche

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When’s the last time that you used a microfilm reader? Unless you’re a librarian, archivist, or historical researcher…it was probably a really long time ago, if ever. While microfilm and microfiche were great ways to store information, they’re a bit outdated now. After all, you’re reading this blog post after a quick internet search – now imagine you can do that with the data on your microfiche. That’s just one of the benefits to digitizing your microfilm and microfiche.

Interested in learning more? Let’s cover all of the benefits of digitizing your microfilm and microfiche:

1. Preserves Information Accurately

One of the problems with microfilm is that unless it is stored in absolutely perfect conditions, it starts to fade and disintegrate over time. (And even if it’s stored in absolutely perfect conditions, it lasts for 500 years. Can you keep conditions perfect for 500 years?)

This is a major concern if you rely on that information.

But when you digitize that microfiche, all of the information is captured accurately before it can fade. And then once your files are digital, they can be brightened, sharpened, and corrected. This means that even if your fiche isn’t in perfect condition, the information isn’t lost.

Once your film and fiche are converted and corrected, they’ll last forever as digital files.

2. Improved Document Control

While it’s true that someone really has to be committed to pull out some microfilm, boot up the machine, and find the correct panel…is there anything to stop them?

Once you have digitized your microfilm and microfiche, information can be password protected and even redacted if it’s confidential. And depending on the kind of content management system you have, you can also restrict access to particular folders or types of information.

With digital files, you can make sure that data is seen only by the people who need to see it.

3. Searchability

After converting microfiche and microfilm, files are indexed, which means that all the information is now keyword searchable.

So instead of trying to remember a particular roll of film and then digging through boxes or filing cabinets, you simply type in a word, date, or name and the information will come right up.

4. Instant Accessibility

When it comes to microfilm, there’s no such thing as instant access. It needs to be found, loaded, and manually searched through before you, hopefully, find the right image.

But once your film or fiche is digitized, all of your files are instantly accessible from the comfort of your computer. Instead of spending hours locating the one piece of information that you may need, you can call it up with a few keystrokes and clicks of your mouse.

Also? You can easily share information with people outside of your organization via a simple email or link.

people using microfiche and microfilm readers

Why deal with these if you don’t need to?

5. More Physical Space

Wouldn’t it be nice to have more space in your office, school, or library? Getting rid of your boxes of microfilm and microfiche is an excellent way to do that.

When you convert your files to digital, they can live on a company server or the cloud—equipment that you either already have or is stored elsewhere. That means you can gain some serious square footage without needing to move.

6. Increased Efficiency

As we’ve discussed, it takes a lot of time to locate a single piece of information on microfilm or microfiche. The physical set up to search takes a decent amount of time, and then the actual search can take hours if you aren’t exactly sure what you’re looking for.

When files are digitized, employees can do a simple search, find their information, and get on with their day. This opens up lots of time for your employees to be doing something else that’s more valuable to your business, customers, and/or patrons.

7. Save Money

Not only will you be saving money by having your employees be more efficient, but you can also save money by not having to maintain microfilm/microfiche readers or machines. Also those perfect conditions we mentioned earlier? You won’t need to worry about preserving your files in the right climate, which can be costly if you operate in a very cold or very warm area.

8. Peace of Mind (and Digital Backups)

No matter where you live or work, there’s always some kind of chance of natural disaster. Tornadoes, hurricanes, freak weather accidents—obviously we hope they don’t happen, but you can never be sure.

When you digitize your records, your information will there no matter what might happen to the physical copies. Even if you want to keep your physical microfilm, you’ll at least have a digital backup just in case something happens or you’re audited.


As you can see, the benefits of microfiche and microfilm conversion are significant. You can save money, increase efficiency, and get more room in your building all by digitizing your records.

If you’re ready to realize these benefits, contact us today or give us a call at (630) 321-0601.


This post is part of the Datamation Guide to Digitizing Your Microfilm. Picture credit to Pete Birkinshaw on Flickr.